(OTTAWA, ON) – The Department of National Defence has awarded contracts to enhance the operational capability of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and global military satellite communications. Two contracts have been awarded to General Dynamics Canada Ltd, in Ottawa, for the Mercury Global project.
The Mercury Global project is the name given to Canada’s participation in the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. WGS will provide high-capacity, assured, and secure satellite access for communications that are vital to the Government of Canada. As costs are shared among seven partner nations, this program allows the CAF to economically meet its need for strategic satellite communications.
Sharing costs with allies is a much more cost-effective option than building and maintaining a uniquely Canadian constellation. This contribution allows Canada access to an entire satellite constellation – worth several billion dollars – and thus offers around-the-globe coverage.
“The ability to rapidly exchange information in today’s modern military operations at home and abroad is critical to the mission of our Canadian Armed Forces,” said Rob Nicholson, MP for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence. “The Mercury Global project will lead to significant cost savings for the military, more efficient access to information for the troops on the ground, and better in-theatre communication during periods of conflict.”
The first contract is for the design-and-build of the Mercury Global anchor stations valued at $59.1 million. The second contract provides on-going, in-service support and is valued at $8.5 million. Building on the 2012 announcement of Canada’s contribution of $337.3 million, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding, Canada is now entering the anchor segment of the Mercury Global project.
The anchor stations will communicate with the WGS satellite constellation and link them to existing CAF communications infrastructure. Mercury Global will provide the CAF with assured access to wideband military satellite communications.
The CAF will ultimately have access to bandwidth from the nine satellite constellation and utilize three anchor sites located in Eastern, Central, and Western Canada.
As stated in the Canada First Defence Strategy, the CAF must maintain their readiness to defend Canada and her interests at home and abroad, to the highest standards, in order to deploy immediately at the request of the Government of Canada. The Mercury Global solution provides the most effective way of meeting this capability requirement for domestic and expeditionary operations.